Saturday, July 03, 2021

Parade Balloon Wrangling

I’ve infiltrated a couple of parade outfits in St. Louis and so we’ve walked in several at this point. I always tell people that walking in the Mardi Gras parade is the closest I’ve ever felt to being famous, with a ton of drunk people screaming and flashing you for some beads. Well one aspect of the glamorous parade life that I had still yet to do was being one of those people that holds the ropes on the giant balloons. There’s a scene in Batman where there’s a parade with those big balloons but I think they were filled with poison gas and Batman has to cut all of their strings to save Gotham. Needless to say giant balloons are very exciting. I joined all of the.. special interest groups at my new company, U.S. Bank. There was one just for St. Louis events in particular that I didn’t expect to be too exciting, but the excitement was cranked to 11 when they sent out an email asking for balloon handler volunteers for the 4th of July parade. Awesome!

Balloon handling is a lot more work than I had expected. Those balloons are very large and filled with so much helium that it is constantly fighting you for its freedom. They supplied gloves which were necessary to not get rope burn. Once we got walking down the route, onlookers kept yelling at us to spin the balloon around by making all of us sort of jog in a circle. I did not enjoy that. There were a lot of trees and other things to get snagged on and it was kind of stressful.

After the parade we walked it to an alley, open its vents, and all jumped on it to force the gas out. It felt a lot like the murder of a large majestic creature.

We got a bit of news coverage, though I was cruelly out of frame for a tv news spot that happened right next to us.

I'm visible in the bottom right corner of this one.

I'm on the center left of this one. Not bad at all. Give the people of St. Louis what they want: more John Milito!

Afterward we went to a 4th of July party at Zoe and Spencer's house. Spencer has an affinity for explosives so he got weird with it.

Spencer had like homemade sticks of dynamite and was setting them off in his backyard. You could feel the shockwave hit you after each explosion. Anyway our night ended when one of his neighbors went ballistic after probably having their house foundation cracked by one of the explosions.

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